I’ve recently looked at dance as a duty of office (both domestically and for diplomacy) but there are also lots of instances where politicians dance in planned, organised settings where they clearly do not need to, for example dancing on television shows. To help understand why they do this I turned to a 2009 research paper on why British and Dutch politicians chose to go on Have I got News for You and its Dutch adaptation, Dit was het Nieuws.
The motives of the politicians who participated in these programmes drew from three distinct but overlapping repertoires: a strategic repertoire, an indulgent repertoire and an anti-elitist repertoire. This post will look at the first of these which boils down tot being seen (positively or negatively) in order “to increase one’s political effectiveness.”
Previously I suggested that dance can be a requirement of political office. I’d like to continue that theme to look at how dance can be a tool in diplomacy.
We can think of dance diplomacy here in the same way that we think of dinner diplomacy – as a ‘soft’ form of engagement, personal and intimate. Dance and dining are activities that involve contact at an equal level – something that is informal, enjoyable, and can operate outside of all other status.
Through Speeching I am interested in thinking about political speeches as if they are dances or performances, but what about when politicians actually dance?
The first and oldest reason is if dancing is an actual requirement of political office; if it is part of a politician’s job. This might seem a little strange but here in the UK, politicians take part in a yearly symbolic and carefully choreographed performance – the State Opening of Parliament which marks the beginning of the parliamentary session.